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Mumps Outbreak Spreads Into County From Ohio State Campus, 63 Sickened

By Nick Sanchez   |   Tuesday, 25 Mar 2014 02:16 PM

What began as a few dozen cases of the mumps at Ohio State University has now spread to an outbreak across the city of Columbus and wider Franklin County.

On Monday, local health officials said 45 Ohio State students and staff had confirmed infections, while 18 cases not related to the university have also been confirmed, according to Reuters. Four of the infected were hospitalized.

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Columbus Heath Department spokesman Jose Rodriguez said the city usually only sees one case of mumps per year, Reuters reporte. Most of those found to be infected, he added, have already received a vaccination for measles, mumps, and rubella — commonly known as an MMR shot.

Mumps can usually be prevented after two doses of the vaccine, but officials said close-contact situations — like that of a university dorm — could still produce an infection.

"It is an easy disease to give and get, much like the flu or cold, and it spreads in highly populated areas," Rodriguez explained. It is for this reason public health officials called it a "disturbing development."

Five days of isolation is recommended for those infected, however in many cases subjects may not exhibit any symptoms, and might spread the infection unknowingly. Most recover completely after a week or two, but in some rare cases the disease can cause more serious ailments.

In a news release, Dr. Teresa C. Long, Columbus Public Health Commissioner, promoted voluntary vaccinations for all. "If you have not been vaccinated against the mumps, or do not remember if you have received the protective vaccine, get vaccinated as soon as possible," she wrote.

The first reported case in the community came in January, and spread to the university campus during the month of February. There the virus gestated and spread to the wider community.

The outbreak comes roughly a month after mumps swept through Fordham University in New York.

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